Join Date: Jul 2002
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Catalina vs Hunter
Tim, I found the bulk of your discussion on comparing Catalina with Hunter to be interesting (if opposite in some respects the post preceding yours) but was genuinely bothered by what seems to be your blanket acceptance of the CE rating for offshore use as legitimate. I recently listened to an experienced sailor, also a technical editor for CW for some years, describe how the dynamics of the discussion and decision-making of that certifying body changed as the large volumne boat manufacturers began participating in their meetings. It was apparently a classic case of the committee designing a horse that turned out to be a camel.
The description I heard, interestingly, was not unlike the comments you made about Hunter representing itself well on the Web. They played a huge role in the standards for CE certification being watered down, using arguments that perhaps sound defensible in theoretical terms...much as I hear their brokers describe the boat''s design and construction. However, the reality is a bit different. I''m in the UK at the moment, where Hunters are sold under the Legend brand name (Hunter having already been claimed by another builder) and they make quite a big deal of being offshore rated. My impression is that this doesn''t cause any great concern here because a) most sailors see a Legend for what it is, and b) most Legends here are used as floating condos and daysailors, must as they seem to be in the States. Similarly, British boatbuilders here find the EU''s efforts to standardize boat building standards to be provincial and less than convincing, and the resulting classification system to be similarly flawed, and influenced by the high volume (and dare I say...French) manufacturers and the rivalries of the member countries.
While my knowledge of Catalinas and Hunters is fairly casual, I share some of the same impressions you do about how one brand is equipped vs. the other. OTOH I''m far less persuaded to draw conclusions about suitable use offshore based on the hardware chosen. E.g. when a stout spar tied down to the hull with conventional rigging - all of which looks right - is being whipsawed in a heavy offshore sea, I don''t think we can assume that the rest of the monocoque structure is similarly up to the task. And we do read of cases where the opposite proved to be true for mid-30''s latter day Catalinas I also see a host of details that simply don''t reflect the realities of cruising boats to distant shores. E.g. how any builder can choose to place plastic ports midships on a hull and not protect them with a rubrail, given the nature of some foreign docks, pilings, and the reality of maneuvering a boat in wind and tidal current, is beyond me. But then, as I read recently at the Catalina 34 Owner''s website, Frank Butler has apparently steered his company clear of making claims about his brand being intended for offshore cruising (as in ''cross ocean'' passages) no matter how it''s certified by an independent commision''s standards, which I think is a reasonable - and I''d guess, well reasoned - position for Catalina to take.
All of that having been said, I hope you have a great time with your new boat, and find her capable of all the sailing you intend.